Coronavirus Morning News Brief – March 12: Finding Covid-19’s Origins is a Moral Imperative Says WHO, Hong Kong’s Reopening

Broadway Went Dark 3 Years Ago and Experienced a Halting Reopening Once Restrictions Were Lifted

By Jonathan Spira on 12 March 2023
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Good morning. This is Jonathan Spira reporting. Here now the news of the pandemic from across the globe on the 1,066th day of the pandemic and the third anniversary of the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Saturday was not only the third anniversary of the declaration of the coronavirus pandemic but also the third anniversary of the day that Broadway theaters went dark to comply with New York State coronavirus restrictions.

The pandemic forced the shutdown of all theaters on March 12, 2020, and they first began to reopen in the late summer and fall of 2021.  Most shows were closed for a period of 18 months and some were closed for an even longer time period.

In addition, some shows never returned including “Hangman” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and numerous shows that did reopen – namely
“Aladdin,” “Hamilton,” “MJ,” “Mrs. Doubtfire” “Jagged Little Pill,” “Moulin Rouge! – The Musical,” and “Tina – The Tine Turner Musical” experienced multiple cancellations of performances due to covid outbreaks in the company.  The list of

A trio of blockbuster musicals – ‘Hamilton,” “Lion King,” and Wicked” – were among the first shows to resume performances in September 2021.

The three restarted performances on September 14, the first day Broadway was allowed to reopen, as will the 1996 revival of “Chicago,” which holds the record as the longest-running musical revival and the longest-running American musical in Broadway history.

In other news we cover today, the WHO also wants to know what the origins of Covid were, while Chinese officials praise Hong Kong’s reopening.


The World Health Organization said that learning the origins of SARS-CoV-2 is a moral imperative that will hopefully help those who have Long Covid.  He underscored that all hypotheses must be explored.

“Understanding #Covid19’s origins and exploring all hypotheses remains: a scientific imperative, to help us prevent future outbreaks (and) a moral imperative, for the sake of the millions of people who died and those who live with #LongCovid,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Twitter late on Saturday.


Zhong Nanshan, an official in communist China, praised Hong Kong’s easing of pandemic control measures on Saturday. The move came as he unveiled new coronavirus vaccines and medications that are “better” than Paxlovid and will soon become available across the border.

Zhong also said masks and vaccines played an important role in Hong Kong’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic.


In China, officials in the city of Xi’an, a major tourist destination in Shaanxi province that is home to the famous terracotta warriors, unveiled an emergency response plan earlier this week that would enable it to shutter schools, businesses, and “other crowded places” in the event of a severe influenza epidemic.

The news faced a public backlash immediately with some people on social media saying that the plan sounded eerily like the draconian “zero-Covid” measures China had implemented early on during the pandemic.


Now here are the daily statistics for Sunday, March 12.

As of Sunday morning, the world has recorded 681.5 million Covid-19 cases, a figure that is largely unchanged from the previous day, and 6.81 million deaths, according to Worldometer, a service that tracks such information. In addition, 654.4 million people worldwide have recovered from the virus, an increase of 0.1 million.

The reader should note that infrequent reporting from some sources may appear as spikes in new case figures or death tolls.

Worldwide, the number of active coronavirus cases as of Sunday at press time is 20,285,990, a decrease of 17,000. Out of that figure, 99.8%, or 20,245,667, are considered mild, and 0.2%, or 40,323, are listed as critical. The percentage of cases considered critical has not changed over the past three months.

The number of new coronavirus infections for Sunday was not available at press time.  The United States reported10,161 new coronavirus infections on Saturday for the previous day, compared to 55,447 reported on Friday 63,372 reported on Thursday, 23,808 on Wednesday, and 14,774 on Tuesday, according to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The 7-day incidence rate is now 29,498.  Figures for the weekend (reported the following day) are typically 30% to 60% of those posted on weekdays due to a lower number of tests being conducted.

The average daily number of new coronavirus cases in the United States over the past 14 days is 29,472, a figure down 14% over the past 14 days, based on data from the Department of Health and Human Services, among other sources.  The average daily death toll over the same period is 393, an increase of 20% over the same period, while the average number of hospitalizations for the period was 24,360, a decrease of 12%. In addition, the number of patients in ICUs was 3,189, a decrease of 12% and the test positivity rate is now 7.8%, a figure that is down by 18% over the same period.

In addition, since the start of the pandemic the United States has, as of Sunday, recorded 105.6 million cases, a higher figure than any other country, and a death toll of 1.15 million. India has the world’s second highest number of officially recorded cases, 44.7 million, and a reported death toll of 530,781.

The newest data from Russia’s Rosstat state statistics service showed that, at the end of July, the number of Covid or Covid-related deaths since the start of the pandemic there in April 2020 is now 823,623, giving the country the world’s second highest pandemic-related death toll, behind the United States.  Rosstat last reported that 3,284 people died from the coronavirus or related causes in July 2022, down from 5,023 in June, 7,008 in May and 11,583 in April.

Meanwhile, France is the country with the third highest number of cases, with over 39.6 million, and Germany is in the number four slot, with just under 38.3 million total cases.

Brazil, which has recorded the third highest number of deaths as a result of the virus, 699,310, has recorded 37.1 million cases, placing it in the number five slot.

The other five countries with total case figures over the 20 million mark are Japan, with 33.3 million cases, South Korea, with 30.6 million cases, placing it in the number seven slot, and Italy, with just over 25.6 million, as number eight, as well as the United Kingdom, with 24.4 million, and Russia, with 22.4 million.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that, as of Thursday, 269.6 million people in the United States – or 81.2% – have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Of that population, 69.3%, or 230.1 million people, have received two doses of vaccine, and the total number of doses that have been dispensed in the United States is now 672.1 million. Breaking this down further, 92.1% of the population over the age of 18 – or 237.8 million people – has received at least a first inoculation and 79% of the same group – or just under 204 million people – is fully vaccinated.  In addition, 19.6% of the same population, or 50.5 million people, has already received an updated or bivalent booster dose of vaccine, while 22.7 million people over the age of 65, or 41.4% of that population have also received the bivalent booster.

Starting on June 13, 2022, the CDC began to update vaccine data on a weekly basis and publish the updated information on Thursdays by 8 p.m. EDT, a statement on the agency’s website said.

Some 69.7% of the world population has received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine by Sunday, according to Our World in Data, an online scientific publication that tracks such information.  So far, 13.32 billion doses of the vaccine have been administered on a global basis and 406,085 doses are now administered each day.

Meanwhile, only 28% of people in low-income countries have received one dose, while in countries such as Canada, China, Denmark, France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States, at least 75% of the population has received at least one dose of vaccine.

Only a handful of the world’s poorest countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia and Nepal – have reached the 70% mark in vaccinations. Many countries, however, are under 20% and, in countries such as Haiti, Senegal, and Tanzania, for example, vaccination rates remain at or below 10%.

In addition, with the start of vaccinations in North Korea in late September, Eritrea remains the only country in the world that has not administered vaccines.

Paul Riegler  contributed reporting to this story.

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